Innovative Pilot Program Schooling District Students About the Hazards of Plastic Waste

January 31, 2020 – Rowland Water District is launching a creative conservation program aimed at reaching students at a place they know well: the drinking fountain. “What’s in Your Bottle?” features retrofitted filling stations at both Rowland and Blandford Elementary Schools. The District hopes that the concept of ‘Ready, Set, Refill’ will help students quickly learn the importance of reducing their dependency on plastic water bottles.

“This program aligns with our ‘What’s Your Water Footprint?’ campaign and is designed to raise awareness in our schools about the incredibly large amount of plastic that is wasted during the course of each day,” says Brittnie Van De Car, Public Affairs Representative for Rowland Water District. “Unfortunately for our environment, this product ends up in the ocean and is harmful to sea life, so we wanted to have this conversation with our students so they are aware of the positive impact that they can have on their own communities by choosing to refill and reuse their water bottles.”

Plumber Gary Garcia, Jr., President of The Plumbers Connection, Inc. in Montclair, was tasked with retrofitting the filling stations at both schools. The stations are designed to enhance sustainability by minimizing dependency on disposable plastic bottles.

“The filling station is outfitted with a special ticker which shows how many plastic bottles have been saved by using the new filling station,” explains Garcia. They are mounted above the pre-existing water fountains, are easy to use and the bottles fill quickly.”

By next year, District schools who want to participate in the program will enter a lottery system, with the goal to retrofit most of the older drinking fountains to new, chilled filling stations.

“Ultimately, two schools each year will be awarded the retrofit, and Rowland will cover 100% of the cost of labor, installation (electrical and plumbing), and the actual cost of the filling station. The goal is also to provide each student with a reusable bottle once we have completed the project,” Van De Car adds.

For more information about this program or about Rowland Water District visit

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